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The Complete Decca Recordings

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Editors’ Notes

Billie Holiday's relationship with the recording industry may not have been as tempestuous as her personal life, but label constraints kept the singer's artistry from truly blossoming for almost a decade. Constrained by essentially middle of the road sensibilities at Columbia, the singer's later freelancing for Commodore at least gave her the freedom to exploit her jazz sensibilities in a small band context. But it was her subsequent 1944-50 tenure at Decca that allowed Holiday to finally reach her full potential in expansive new contexts. Her jazz side may be a bit muted on these sessions, which instead frame her magnificent, expressive voice in a range of production accoutrements that now include strings, a larger orchestra and backing singers. The results were such Holiday landmarks as "Lover Man," "Don't Explain," "Solitude, " "'Taint Nobody's Business If I Do," "Good Morning Heartache" and more detailed re-recordings of earlier staples like "God Bless the Child," accompanied here by insightful alternate takes. Long celebrated as one of America's true musical treasures, this is the most comprehensive document of Billie Holiday in her prime.

Customer Reviews

The Best years? The Decca years!

This is the best if you arent use to listening to Billie You will like this period. The earlier works when I first listened made a friend comment "That sounds like the Little Rascals music. The 50's she sounds so tired and broke down. But during her stint at Decca you can understand why she was the queen of 52nd street. her voice is at its peak

the most amazing artist

No one can beat Billie Holliday. Her singing ability is astounding and every time she sings, she touches me. What can you say besides, "she is amazing!" A definite keeper.

Awesome Music, Any Occasion

Invite friends. Pour a nice wine. Put this album on. Enjoy. Billie Hiloday is superb whether as background music or the center of your attention. Great collection - 1944-1950.


Born: April 7, 1915 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

The first popular jazz singer to move audiences with the intense, personal feeling of classic blues, Billie Holiday changed the art of American pop vocals forever. More than a half-century after her death, it's difficult to believe that prior to her emergence, jazz and pop singers were tied to the Tin Pan Alley tradition and rarely personalized their songs; only blues singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey actually gave the impression they had lived through what they were singing. Billie Holiday's...
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